How to survive an angry relationship
Whether you have been together for five minutes or for five decades, relationships take work. Generally speaking, all relationships at one time or another are going to hit some rocky ground. In my experience, I would say that a major recurring theme for people who are experiencing difficulty in their intimate relationships revolves around the topic of ANGER. Perhaps one person is angry within the relationship or perhaps both people are angry. Perhaps they are angry about the same thing. Perhaps they are angry about entirely different things altogether. The point is this, where there is anger, miscommunication is often a significant problem and obstruction to upholding a healthy relationship.
We will all, at times, struggle and indeed fail to communicate effectively when we are feeling angry or frustrated. Remember that anger is a sign that warns us to pay attention to what is impacting us in a negative way. We must understand the source of it and we must do so objectively and with clarity. Learn to establish moments when your heated communication is not constructive and take the initiative to step away and calm down. Make the conscious effort to breathe, to take yourself for a walk or take a nap. Whatever works for you. Then, when in a calmer state, continue with your conversation.
Whatever your issues, maintaining the respect to listen to one another is essential. Avoiding convoluted speech is also very important here. There are two key questions to ask in situations such as this that follow a concise and simple format.
Question one is for your partner: ‘‘what is it that you want from me?’’ Response: ‘‘I want you to…’’. Listen carefully to what your partner has to say. Do not respond right away, instead, take some time to consider what it is that they are telling you and whether what they want is firstly valid and secondly, something that you are able to provide.
Question two is for yourself: ‘‘what is it that I want for myself?’’ Response: ‘‘I need to feel/know/understand…’’ Take some time to dwell on your own personal needs and whether or not they are being met. Then, communicate this to your partner when you feel ready. This is a crucial step, do not skip it. Take the time to respect what your own needs and wants are so that you are able to express yourself clearly to your partner when the time comes.
Even when all feels lost to you, there is always hope. If you have a commitment to one another then you can make it through anything. Have patience and endeavour to listen carefully to your partner, but also to yourself. There will, of course, be times when it feels that the anger has surpassed what you both are able to overcome together. In which case, couples therapy will allow you the opportunity to talk about your issues within a safe and confidential setting, whilst also allowing for an opportunity of individual support should you require it.
Know When to Walk Away
There will, of course, be instances whereby your relationship is toxic or indeed dangerous for you to stay the course. It can be incredibly difficult to realise that the person in our life is in fact a threat and mean us harm. If at any point you fear for your safety or feel at risk in any way from the anger that your partner is projecting onto you, it is vital that you are able to put yourself and your safety first. Know that you are not responsible for the anger of your partner, it is, contrary to how you are made to feel, NOT YOUR FAULT. If your partner is mistreating you, they do not deserve your love.
You must treasure the relationship that you have with yourself. There are many instances in which people stay within an abusive, toxic and dangerous relationship through sheer obligation or fear. Let’s acknowledge here and now that you are not obligated to put up with any form of abuse at any point, whether you are married or otherwise. Should you feel fearful for your safety or the safety of others, seek help urgently, be it from the police or from a trusted family member or friend. There are also shelters that can provide you with a safe haven should you need to leave swiftly or should you have no one to count on. Remember that there is ALWAYS a way out if you choose it.
Wishing you strength, love and health,